Monday, September 01, 2014

One Way Traffic

Before 1997, there was a slew of books predicting that the advent of Chinese rule would inevitably mean the death of Hong Kong.  For several years, I believed that they were wrong.  I would tell friends overseas who asked how life here had changed that the Chinese government had interfered far less than we all feared, and that by and large Hong Kong life went on much as before.

It is now apparent that these perceptions arose from a false sense of security.  In reality, Hong Kong has been in the position of a woman forced into an unwanted arranged marriage whose new husband chooses not to consummate it immediately - but eventually she is bound to get well and truly screwed.  And now we are.

Among the many betrayers of Hong Kong who have contributed to the dire situation we are in, one name stands out.  Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai CBE - prominent among the sudden patriots I wrote about yesterday - is Hong Kong's only member (one can hardly call her a representative, as she only represents herself) of the NPC Standing Committee that laid down the disastrous fake democracy blueprint delivered yesterday.  As such, she bears a special responsibility for its decision.

The Independent newspaper once asked "What is it about Rita Fan that makes Hong Kong hate her so?"  Well, one obvious reason is that she likes to lecture Hong Kong people on why they are all wrong about Beijing, and boast of her own unique insight into the Central Government's thinking.  A few days ago she warned Hong Kong people not to pressurise Beijing (as if a mouse could apply much pressure to an elephant!), and after yesterday's announcement she reinforced the message:
"If we want something done we have to persuade them in a manner that they can understand.  We should never persuade people in a manner that they feel unhappy about, that they feel they are being pressurised."
OK, so let us assume for a moment that Fan is right.  Since she claims to know how to persuade Beijing in a manner that it can understand, how has she used this knowledge to make them realise that the pseudo-democracy it proposes for Hong Kong can only exacerbate unrest, deepen division, and ultimately destroy the very "stability and prosperity of Hong Kong" to which the Beijing leadership so often claims to be committed?  And has she advised Beijing not to let Hong Kong people feel that they are being pressurised?

Well, nothing at all, and no, respectively.  Fan did not achieve the power and influence she so clearly enjoys by speaking uncomfortable truths to the powerful.  She will tell Beijing nothing about Hong Kong that it does not wish to hear.  And the narrative - or myth - Beijing prefers, and may even fool itself into believing, is of a contented and united populace loyally devoted to the motherland and grateful to the all-powerful Chinese Communist Party for the gifts it so munificently bestows on them, spoiled only by a negligible handful of dissident troublemakers stirring up disagreement.

Fan is not of course the only politician peddling this one-way traffic - passing down Beijing's imperious edicts to Hong Kong, while failing to help the Central Government understand the SAR's needs and concerns.  With a few honourable exceptions, most government ministers and the DAB's leaders are all guilty of the same thing.  But as Hong Kong's only member of the NPC Standing Committee, Fan was in a uniquely privileged position last week to make a real difference to Hong Kong's future.  By going along with a decision that will ensure future CEs continue to speak for the Central Government rather than representing the people of Hong Kong, she has sadly abused that privilege.

As the winter of our discontent deepens, what adds insult to injury is that not only has Fan welcomed the approaching iceberg, but she and fellow Beijing toady Lau Siu-kai, former head of the Central Policy Unit, have even blamed us - the Hong Kong people - for steering the ship into it.  According to them Beijing has taken a hard line against the democrats in Hong Kong, as Lau puts it, "simply because of the the pressure they apply on Beijing".  Yeah, sure - and without that we would surely be living in paradise...

PS - it's hard to believe when you look at her now, but Rita Fan was quite a beauty when she was young.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lest We Forget

A Basic Law Committee member and one of the most prominent of those I call the sudden patriots - those opportunistic old crones who did very well out of sucking up to the British for many years  before 1997, when they suddenly discovered a deep, abiding, and previously entirely unsuspected love for the motherland and became part of the new Hong Kong establishment that wins Beijing's trust by telling it exactly what it wants to hear.  ("Not the facts, ma'am, just not the facts.")  Rita Fan (also a CBE) is another leading member of this unsavoury crew.

As Hong Kong sinks deeper into the political mire with the release of Beijing's electoral proposals today, let us remember those who are helping the city to drown.

And incidentally someone seems to have done a spot of ethnic cleansing on Maria Tam's Wikipedia entry, which at the time of writing mentions her Hong Kong honours (GBM, GBS) but conveniently forgets her no-longer-PC British one.  Of course, anyone can edit Wikipedia...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Why didn't someone tell me about this before?

In response to press reports of people being paid to join the Alliance for Sleaze and Disharmony's march on Sunday, organiser Robert Chow reverted to the feeble "everybody's doing it" defence and claimed that people are also being paid (or at least bribed with free meals) to join pro-democracy rallies.  All I can say is that I wish I'd known about this earlier.  Like hundreds of thousands of other Hongkongers, I have turned out year after year in sweltering heat or pouring rain to speak out for Hong Kong's rights and freedoms, and never received a cent or a sandwich for my trouble - not even my bus fare.

So, where do I collect my arrears?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Egg on their Faces

Yesterday's protest march by the Alliance for Peace and Hypocrisy attracted a claimed 110,000 plus participants - although if you deduct those who were paid to attend (some of whom, when interviewed on TV, clearly had no idea what the event was all about), coerced by their employers, bused in from the mainland, or more interested in protecting their mainland business interests than in the welfare of Hong Kong, the real figure was probably only a few hundred.  Even hardcore Beijing loyalists like Maria Tam, who showed her face at a precursor event earlier in the day, reportedly couldn't be bothered to actually get off their arses and march - while many of those who did, having registered their attendance at the starting point, apparently dropped out soon after leaving Victoria Park.

The most interesting thing that happened was one of the protesters throwing eggs at some People Power hecklers staging a counter-protest.  Their aim being as imprecise as the aims of the Alliance for Peace and Dishonesty itself, they hit a young policewoman instead.  Strangely, the police - usually so aggrieved at any perceived attack on themselves - somehow never got round to arresting the perpetrator.

Why is this interesting?  Because for a month the Alliance has had booths all over town inviting people to sign its petition against - not really Occupy Central, but a demonised distortion of Occupy Central that doesn't exist in reality - in other words, a fantasy enemy.  And all during this time, to the best of my knowledge, there has been no physical attack on any of these booths or on those staffing them by the supposedly dangerous Occupy Central camp, whom we are invited to fear as a violent threat to the peace of Hong Kong.  Yet when there is a march against this so-called violent organisation, we see an attack coming from those who are supposedly promoting peace and opposing violence - and a planned one too; no one just happens to be carrying a tray of 24 eggs with them (as shown in the SCMP's photos) when they go on a protest march.

Yes, there is a violent threat to the Hong Kong we care about - but it doesn't come from Occupy Central.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Uncle Beach's Etiquette Advice - Part 1 of a new series

Dear Uncle Beach,
I would like to know how best to respond to the strange hand signals I see being used by the Alliance for Peace and Democracy.  I do not want to cause any offence to the Hong Kong people by giving an inappropriate response.
Signed Puzzled of Pokfulam

Uncle Beach replies:
Dear Puzzled,
No need to worry - for the true Hong Konger there is only one appropriate response to anything the so-called Alliance for Peace and Democracy does:
Signed Uncle Beach

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Occupy Central - the Chief Executive Speaks Out

In strict legal terms, CY Leung's warning against Occupy Central may be accurate.  But as in so many other aspects of his "leadership", it betrays an alarming unfamiliarity with the real world.  The fact is, we all break the law regularly.  Just about everyone in Hong Kong is at some time guilty of, for example: jaywalking, speeding, illegal parking, bringing home a little more than the duty-free allowance when returning from overseas, eating on public transport, smoking in a no-smoking area, or (like Leung himself), making unauthorised alterations to our homes.  These are offences of the type classified in American law as misdemeanours - they may be against the law, but no one really thinks of themself as a criminal for doing them.  They form the middle ground that Leung tells us does not exist.

Yes, Occupy Central would be illegal - but what type of illegal?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Who's Blocking Whom?

So let me see if I've got this straight: a group of minibus drivers take over the street to protest against people planning to take over the streets.  Hmm.  Another story for the "You couldn't make this stuff up" file.